Searching For Black Confedetates

Viper21

Brigadier General
Moderator
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 4, 2016
Location
Rockbridge County, Virginia
He signed up in a Tennessee state regiment. When the regiment was drafted into confederate service, Farley either quit or was turned away.
Do you have any evidence to back up your assertion that he deserted, or was booted ..? Or are you offering conjecture..?

By the time the gap in the 25th TN Inf disappears, his enlistment would've been up. Isn't that a plausible explanation why we don't see him in muster rolls later in the war..?

Lots of regiments have gaps, sometimes long gaps, in their records.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The best description of the unique way CSA Tennessee regiments came into existence is in Connelly’s Army of the Heartland. As is well known, due to its singular topography, TN was & is politically divided. The proslavery population is easy to see in the slave census map of 1860. Tennessee did finally pass a secession ordinance, almost immediately followed by the outbreak of a viscous war amongst neighbors.

Before secession, the moribund state militia was resurrected. The TN state army was way too convoluted to go into in detail. Gideon Pillow’s career as the Gadfly General of the Confederacy began during that time. Needless to say, between the time the local companies with ferocious names were formed & the induction into CSA service occurred, the rosters shrank considerably. Some men “drew the straw.”

The individual in question in this thread could have, quite honorably gone home to tend his farm. I have no idea if this happened in other states or not. When it became obvious that, out of an excess of zeal, too many men from a community had joined the company for there to be good order at home, a lottery involving drawing straws was convened.

The men who drew the short straws were sent home to tend the farms & keep the slaves in order. Most of TN slaveholders were yeomen farmers owning +/- 10 slaves. This was, as far as I have been able to ascertain, strictly a democratic act carried out by the men themselves. I was only alerted to this by the cryptic “…he drew the straw…” explication for why my paternal great great did not serve in the war.

A TN State Company I am familiar with was all but wiped out by disease in the months after it was formed. These were naive populations that were gathered together & kept there under appallingly unsanitary conditions. It would be no surprise if the subject of this thread & many of his comrades did not live long enough to enter CSA service.

Those of use who are conversant with TN’s entry into the CSA aren’t at all surprised that a man’s does not appear on the roster when the regiment enters CSA service. Have you checked for him in Union regiments from the same area?

Edited
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AshleyMel

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
I was able to come across, like, two Southern Cross applications. I'm not sure if I can post here because of any copyright issues or what not. Anyway, there were very basic. Worded as recommendations for the medal. Name, regiment, where discharged, etc. Also there were letters of recommendation from persons who could testify on behalf of the recipient. Digging a little more, I was able to confirm the crosses were given out by the local Chapters and the UCV Camps. General was notified and would only award the crosses if there was no local group to do so. There were requirements and particulars for the bestowals, similar to what the UDC does today. I'm working on a project now hoping to get head stones on two cemetery plots. Both of the gents buried there were awarded Southern Cross of Honor. That is why this thread is interesting to me.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Do you have any evidence to back up your assertion that he deserted, or was booted ..? Or are you offering conjecture..?

By the time the gap in the 25th TN Inf disappears, his enlistment would've been up. Isn't that a plausible explanation why we don't see him in muster rolls later in the war..?

Lots of regiments have gaps, sometimes long gaps, in their records.
If it was only Farley, then you might have a point. But none of the free blacks show up again in June and July '62. Some of the free blacks enlisted in Aug '61 or Sept '61 for twelve months. So their enlistments should have extended past "the gap."

Do you think that this trend, that none of the free blacks were still around at the end of "the gap," is significant? Those free blacks who enlisted in August and September '61 did not make it to the end of their twelve month enlistment.

I wasn't implying that Farley deserted. I believe there were many in the south who understood that enlisting in a state unit did not automatically enlist them in the confederate army. That was an issue with some of the NC troops that Pickett hung for desertion later in the war. They never enlisted in the confederate army. Their understanding was that they enlisted solely in their state units.

Do you or 19Georgia have any evidence that Farley served his entire enlistment? And why is there no description of the free blacks leaving the service as there is with the white soldiers... such as a date when the soldier deserted, died, killed, wounded, captured, discharged, etc.

Is there any evidence that ANY of the free blacks in the regiment served past October 1861?
 
Last edited:

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
If it was only Farley, then you might have a point. But none of the free blacks show up again in June and July '62. Some of the free blacks enlisted in Aug '61 or Sept '61 for twelve months. So their enlistments should have extended past "the gap."
Here's part of the record of Company A:

Card
Roll for July 25 to October 31, 1861 (page 37)
Roll for June 30 to November 1, 1862 (page 38)

...meaning that last roll was filled out on or about November 1.
So there is actually a longer gap.

"Is there any evidence that ANY of the free blacks in the regiment served past October 1861?"

I note that several of the October 31 company rolls are dated in late December of '61 as you can see in the first image:

Screenshot (2522).jpg

Screenshot (2523).png
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Here's part of the record of Company A:

Card
Roll for July 25 to October 31, 1861 (page 37)
Roll for June 30 to November 1, 1862 (page 38)

...meaning that last roll was filled out on or about November 1.
So there is actually a longer gap.

"Is there any evidence that ANY of the free blacks in the regiment served past October 1861?"

I note that several of the October 31 company rolls are dated in late December of '61 as you can see in the first image:

View attachment 418390
View attachment 418391
And some are listed as a two month period, such as June & July. And some entries are made years after the fact... such as a May '62 desertion entered in 1864.

Are there any entries specifically noting the free blacks presence after October '61? A July-October muster report filled out in December '61 does not mean that they were present until December.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
And some are listed as a two month period, such as June & July. And some entries are made years after the fact... such as a May '62 desertion entered in 1864.

Are there any entries specifically noting the free blacks presence after October '61? A July-October muster report filled out in December '61 does not mean that they were present until December.
Here are some free blacks from units with more complete records and who served past that magic October 31 date:

Name - Unit - Last Record

Daniel S. Collins, 28th TN - April 28, 1862

Jesse Lasiter, 27th TN - December 1861

Shim Mitchell, 27th TN - December 1862

John Ramsey, 29th TN - Died December 17, 1861

James Stewart, 28th TN - April 28, 1862

William D. Stewart, 28th TN - April 28, 1862
 
Last edited:

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Here are some free blacks from units with more complete records and who served past that magic October 31 date:

Name - Unit - Last Record

Daniel S. Collins, 28th TN - April 28, 1862

Jesse Lasiter, 27th TN - December 1861

Shim Mitchell, 27th TN - December 1862

John Ramsey, 29th TN - Died December 17, 1861

James Stewart, 28th TN - April 28, 1862

William D. Stewart, 28th TN - April 28, 1862
John Ramsey is listed as a "free man of color cooking for mess." I wonder how many of these free blacks in confederate service were treated as soldiers.

April 28th, 1862 seems to be another magic date. Any evidence of free blacks in Tennessee units being issued arms, or being wounded or killed in action, or being discharged?

Did any of these men later claim to be confederate soldiers?
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Which link? Please provide some names and regiments.
Berry Black
George Blackwood
Alexander Bogan
Aaron Russell
Jackson Thomas
...to name a few. You should be able to find the rest.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Berry Black
George Blackwood
Alexander Bogan
Aaron Russell
Jackson Thomas
...to name a few. You should be able to find the rest.
Okay I thought we were talking about regularly enlisted black soldiers.

As usual, the discussion begins to include "servants" and "laborers." For some of these, the cards don't include enlistment information or muster roll information. Just that they were captured and on a roll as POW's.

Regularly-enlisted black confederate soldiers. That was the original request. Not state units, not laborers or musicians, not mulattoes who passed as white. Black soldiers accepted into confederate service as soldiers. Is there even one clear-cut example that doesn't require conjecture?
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Okay I thought we were talking about regularly enlisted black soldiers.

As usual, the discussion begins to include "servants" and "laborers." For some of these, the cards don't include enlistment information or muster roll information. Just that they were captured and on a roll as POW's.

Regularly-enlisted black confederate soldiers. That was the original request. Not state units, not laborers or musicians, not mulattoes who passed as white. Black soldiers accepted into confederate service as soldiers. Is there even one clear-cut example that doesn't require conjecture?
"For some of these, the cards don't include enlistment information or muster roll information. Just that they were captured and on a roll as POW's."

Some of the units have no existing rolls. Not one for the entire war. I wouldn't disregard the record that does exist (POW) for that reason.

"Regularly-enlisted black confederate soldiers. That was the original request. Not state units, not laborers or musicians, not mulattoes who passed as white. Black soldiers accepted into confederate service as soldiers."

About 90% on that thread were enlisted. All enlisted men were soldiers.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
About 90% on that thread were enlisted. All enlisted men were soldiers.
We've been down that road before. No one disputes that the confederates enlisted blacks as musicians, cooks, and laborers. Even Kevin Levin acknowledges that.

What the confederates did not do was enlist blacks as soldiers.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
128. Robert S. McCalley, Birmingham Pvt., Co. I, 4th Ala. Cav.
129. A. F. Barclay, Huntsville Pvt., Co. I, 4th Ala. Cav.
130. Allison W. Baker, New Market Pvt., Co. F, 4th Ala. Cav.
131. J. W. Yancy, Huntsville Pvt./Sgt., Co. B, 1st Tenn. Inf
132. T. A. Bailes, Gurley Pvt., Co. C, 4th Ala. Cav.
133. J. H. West, Huntsville Pvt., Co. C, 26th Ala. Inf.
134. Ben L. Coyle, Huntsville Pvt. Co. I, 4th Ala. Inf. & Co. K, 4th Ala. Cav.
135. A. B. Shelby, Huntsville Pvt., Co. I, 4th Ala. Inf. & Co. C, 4th Ala. Cav.
136. W. W. McMillan, New Hope, Ala. Corp., Co. G, 12th Ala.
Trying to comprehend your list. Seems to have a lot of men from Alabama and specifically the 4th Alabama Cavalry. I didnt know that regiment had such an outstanding record. But I think there were two 4th Alabama Cav’s.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
We've been down that road before. No one disputes that the confederates enlisted blacks as musicians, cooks, and laborers. Even Kevin Levin acknowledges that.

What the confederates did not do was enlist blacks as soldiers.
There was no category of "non-soldier enlisted men."

Two members of the Confederate Congress tried to differentiate on that subject by proposing amendments to a law impressing free blacks and slaves into the army:

"Provided, That said slaves shall not be armed or used as soldiers."

"Provided further, That in no event shall any portion of said slaves or free negroes so impressed have arms placed in their hands, or be mustered into the Confederate States service, or be used at any time as soldiers in said service."

Both amendments failed.

 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
There was no category of "non-soldier enlisted men."

Two members of the Confederate Congress tried to differentiate on that subject by proposing amendments to a law impressing free blacks and slaves into the army:

"Provided, That said slaves shall not be armed or used as soldiers."

"Provided further, That in no event shall any portion of said slaves or free negroes so impressed have arms placed in their hands, or be mustered into the Confederate States service, or be used at any time as soldiers in said service."

Both amendments failed.

That doesn’t change the fact that the regulations for confederate enlistment specified white males.

Black men were limited to certain menial non-soldier roles in confederate service.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
That doesn’t change the fact that the regulations for confederate enlistment specified white males.

Black men were limited to certain menial non-soldier roles in confederate service.
That an enlisted man is a "non-soldier" is an invention of your own and others. It may be a popular idea that an enlisted man used primarily for labor is "not a real soldier" but there's nothing in Confederate law or regulations that makes that distinction.

"That doesn’t change the fact that the regulations for confederate enlistment specified white males."

There were situations where Confederate regulations were circumvented or waived - either by state regulations or treaty.

"The act of Congress of March 6, 1861, provided for the organization of the volunteer troops then called for by adopting the State regulations."
https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_War_of_the_Rebellion/kiOLoOhYEwEC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq="The+act+of+Congress+of+March+6,+1861,+provided+for+the+organization+of+the+volunteer+troops+then+called+for+by+adopting+the+State+regulations."&pg=PA673&printsec=frontcover

Confederate treaty with the Creek Nation, July 10, 1861 (example):
ARTICLE XXXVI. In consideration of the common interests of the Creek Nation and the Confederate States, and of the protection and rights guaranteed to the said nation by this treaty, the Creek Nation hereby agrees that it will, either by itself or in conjunction with the Seminole Nation, raise and furnish a regiment of ten companies of mounted men to serve in the armies of the Confederate States for twelve months, the company officers whereof shall be elected by the members of the company, and the field officers by a majority of the votes of the members of the regiment The men shall be armed by the Confederate States, receive the same pay and allowances as other mounted troops in the service, and not be moved beyond the limits of the Indian country west of Arkansas without their consent.
 
Last edited:

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
That an enlisted man is a "non-soldier" is an invention of your own and others. It may be a popular idea that an enlisted man used primarily for labor is "not a real soldier" but there's nothing in Confederate law or regulations that makes that distinction.

"That doesn’t change the fact that the regulations for confederate enlistment specified white males."

There were situations where Confederate regulations were circumvented or waived - either by state regulations or treaty.

"The act of Congress of March 6, 1861, provided for the organization of the volunteer troops then called for by adopting the State regulations."
https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_War_of_the_Rebellion/kiOLoOhYEwEC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq="The+act+of+Congress+of+March+6,+1861,+provided+for+the+organization+of+the+volunteer+troops+then+called+for+by+adopting+the+State+regulations."&pg=PA673&printsec=frontcover

Confederate treaty with the Creek Nation, July 10, 1861 (example):
ARTICLE XXXVI. In consideration of the common interests of the Creek Nation and the Confederate States, and of the protection and rights guaranteed to the said nation by this treaty, the Creek Nation hereby agrees that it will, either by itself or in conjunction with the Seminole Nation, raise and furnish a regiment of ten companies of mounted men to serve in the armies of the Confederate States for twelve months, the company officers whereof shall be elected by the members of the company, and the field officers by a majority of the votes of the members of the regiment The men shall be armed by the Confederate States, receive the same pay and allowances as other mounted troops in the service, and not be moved beyond the limits of the Indian country west of Arkansas without their consent.
No, the invention is the notion of black confederate soldiers.

I've repeatedly asked for any evidence that any blacks were accepted into confederate service as soldiers before the final weeks of the war. Enlisted in confederate infantry units. Trained and drilled as soldiers. Equipped as soldiers.

No unambiguous evidence has been provided for even one black confederate soldier. Not a single solitary example.
 
Top